Martial Arts UWS : How old is karate ?
Martial Arts UWS Igor Dyachenko




Martial Arts UWS : Igor Dyachenko’s knowledge



Martial Arts UWS :You will find karate an intriguing martial art, shrouded in secrecy for centuries. So, you will undoubtedly have an interest in learning how old is karate. A rich history with traditions and philosophies dating back centuries, karate has lessons that shine through the ages 


Origins of karate


Karate is a martial art with roots dating back thousands of years. This striking art uses punches, kicks, elbow strikes, and knee strikes. It also uses open-handed techniques like spear-hands and knife-hands, as well as palm-heel attacks.


The origins of karate begin as a fighting system in the Ryukyu region. Chinese martial artists begin sharing their knowledge as the trade of goods begins between China and the kingdom of Ryukyu. You may hear that martial arts traveled from India to China with a Buddhist Monk. It may also have some truth in the origins of karate, but the most recognizable story is from China.


In 1392, visitors from China then took this knowledge to the island of Okinawa. Chinese families settling here begin to share their arts, sciences, and fighting styles. Afterward, karate masters introduce the martial art to Japan.


Karate’s origins come from a fighting system known as te. The current form of karate is 200 years old. First of all, it teaches students to be a gentleman first and a warrior second. 


Essential dates in Karate’s history 


Circa 550 – An Indian Prince shares Buddhism teachings in China. Folklore tales link the prince to the Shaolin monks and the creation of kung fu. 

1156 – Bushido warrior codes come into play, and the Samurai class is born.

1372 – China begins trading with the Ryukyu Islands, and fighting systems, as well as goods, are among the trades. 

1470 – The Shimazu clan invade Okinawa and place a ban on owning weapons. This ban popularizes unarmed combat techniques, with practice taking place under cover of darkness.

Circa 1800 – Teacher of Master Itosu and Asato, Matsumura Sokon is born. 

1868 – The birth of Gichin Funakoshi .

1889 – Gichin Funakoshi becomes a school teacher 

1901 – Funakoshi and Itosu demonstrate to the school commissioner, and this permits them to teach karate in public schools.

1912 – Funakoshi becomes the president of the martial spirit promotion society.

1924 – A karate club is the first in a college, Keio University.

1928/35 – Over 30 karate clubs come into existence across Japanese universities.

1939 – First dojo ‘The Shotokan’ opens,.

1946 – Karate makes its way to the US and the first dojo opens.


On Okinawa, the development of karate emerges as three styles, with names relating to the cities of their origin. These styles include Tomari-te and Naha-te, as well as Shuri-te. Likewise, each has its own style, techniques, and kata. 


A key date in karate is 1901. At this time, Itosu Anko helps to introduce karate as a lesson in public schools in Okinawa. You may already know of Itosu as the Grandfather of Modern Karate. Itosu teaches his form of karate to Gichin Funakoshi, Kenwa Mabuni, and Motobu Chōki. They become karate masters in their own rights. Gichin Funakoshi is the founder of Shotokan Karate, which he introduces it to the main islands of Japan.   


Gichin Funakoshi


As the person that is the founder of Shotokan Karate, Gichin Funakoshi is the man that popularizes the martial art. The spread of karate influences many teachers. Due to the turbulent times in the region, they have to change the name. Japan was invading China, so the name of Tang/China hand is not acceptable. The sport becomes “the way of the empty hand.” To make sure karate is acceptable on the mainland, Funakoshi changes the name of some of the kata also. Giving them Japanese names but not changing the content allows him to keep the core of the sport.


While in Japan, he gets inspiration from Kendo and uses distancing and timing techniques as part of karate. To keep up with the modernization of the world, karate has to move this way too. Consultations with the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano, help with these steps of moving forward. The white uniforms and so the belt ranks are now part of the sport and help make it more accessible.


Karate around the world


As the sport evolves and adds measurable goals, such as belts, it gains momentum. People of all ages and fitness levels now enjoy the sport. Because of the mixture of spiritual teachings, life lessons, and demanding moves, karate is a sport for all.

At Karate City, we appreciate the rich history of the sport. In kid’s karate classes, we teach the moves but also the philosophies. Our students enjoy the challenges of karate but also learn respect and humility. Due to the masters that have gone before, the lessons in karate apply to all aspects of life. Martial Arts UWS